Roger Goodell: Browns' Deshaun Watson on Track to Return from Suspension Dec. 4

Erin WalshOctober 19, 2022

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 27: Deshaun Watson #4 of the Cleveland Browns warms up prior to a preseason game against the Chicago Bears at FirstEnergy Stadium on August 27, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)
Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is on pace to return to the field Dec. 4 against the Houston Texans.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday that Watson "has followed all the terms of his 11-game suspension," according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, which will allow him to return to the field in six weeks.

The NFL and NFL Players Association announced Aug. 18 that they had reached a settlement on discipline for Watson, agreeing to suspend him 11 games and fine him $5 million for violating the league's personal conduct policy after 24 women filed lawsuits accusing him of sexual assault or misconduct during massage sessions. The league also mandated that he undergo evaluation by behavioral experts and attend a treatment program.

Watson is eligible for reinstatement on Nov. 28. He has not been allowed to practice with the Browns since Aug. 29, but he was allowed to return to the practice facility on Oct. 10 on a limited basis. He can resume practicing Nov. 14.

Twenty-three of the 24 initial civil lawsuits against Watson have been settled. However, Watson is facing a new accusation unrelated to those lawsuits.

Another woman has filed a civil lawsuit against Watson, alleging he tried to have sex with her before he pressured her into oral sex during a massage session in December 2020, according to Peggy Gallek, Ed Gallek and Jordan Unger of Fox8.com.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Cleveland.com in an email last week that the league is still monitoring Watson's situation given the latest lawsuit filed against him:

โ€œWatson's status remains unchanged. We will monitor developments in the newly-filed litigation; and any conduct that warrants further investigation or possible additional sanctions would be addressed within the Personal Conduct Policy.โ€

In March, two grand juries declined to indict Watson on 10 criminal complaints of sexual assault and misconduct. The news came just before the Texans officially announced they had traded the veteran signal-caller to the Browns.

After being traded to the Browns, Watson signed a five-year, fully guaranteed $230 million contract extension.

The 27-year-old sat out the entire 2021 season after requesting a trade from the Texans. The last time he was on the field during the 2020 season, he earned a Pro Bowl selection after passing for 4,823 yards and 33 touchdowns against seven interceptions in 16 games.

With Watson sidelined to begin the 2022 season, the Browns have relied on Jacoby Brissett as their starter. Cleveland enters a Week 7 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens with a 2-4 record.